WSJ Article: “VCs Should Back Gadgets for the Sick, Not the Healthy, Doctors Say”

WSJ Article/Comments “VCs Should Back Gadgets for the Sick, Not the Healthy, Doctors Say”

Article in WSJ Venture Capital Dispatch notes that medical professionals believe the investment community is missing the opportunity to develop healthcare solutions for seniors and patients with chronic conditions. Today’s focus is on ‘gadgets’ targeting primarily healthy patients as noted in the WSJ article. I agree with the key points- we are seeing several exciting new healthcare/analytics markets emerge and they are moving quickly- these will attract VC funding-.

Due to space, I posted summary comments on the WSJ site and shared some ideas on opportunities – link to WSJ article and comments:

Full copy of my comments:


Agree- suggest we focus less on the gadgets and more on developing the technologies and solutions to address real needs- senior care, chronic care, prenatal, preventative medicine.  

We are missing the mark but healthcare is now positioned for major capital infusion by investors that understand the market and recognize that analytics, software, and solutions, not hardware or gadgets, will drive and scale the market. I am pleased to share comments on some new directions/numbers here.

New Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) and Clinical and Business Intelligence (C&BI) systems using analytics to achieve performance improvements such as reducing misdiagnosis errors (accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of medical errors) and improving operational efficiency (estimated at $17-29 billion annually due to patient misdiagnosis). These are spawning exciting new related analytics/software ventures to reshape healthcare and streamline clinical analysis.

Look at the upside here- in 2011, a HIMSS study reported only 30 percent of US hospitals had a clinical data warehousing/mining solution. And among these users, only 35 percent of these users employed any analytic tools for predictive modeling, and less than 1 out of 5 of these users even use their transactional systems to capture data. We are in the early growth phase of the exponential growth market for ventures developing creative healthcare applications using ‘big data’ and analytics tools.

The remote healthcare monitoring market is also in its infancy, but positioned for dramatic growth. One driver is EHR adoption now being driven by ACA’s Meaningful Use rules. Integrating EHRs with remote monitoring and analytics, we create exciting new business sectors which, for example, link to medications for compliance, drug efficacy, adverse effect tracking and so on- very exciting area which I have been directly involved with.

Also consider the need, as an example, for prenatal care and chronic conditions treatment in rural areas with 25 percent of population but only 10 percent of physicians- you realize very quickly the benefits offered by emerging enhanced remote healthcare telemonitoring applications. Note these go well beyond the “gadget” market (such as a wristwatch tracking vital signs). I shared comments on EHR directions/recommendations in a prior WSJ posting (“Can Data From Your Fitbit Transform Medicine?:” WSJ Technology, June 23, 2014)

EHR adoption provides the foundation to support remote telemonitoring and other analytics-based applications. A 2012 Commonwealth Fund study showed EHR adoption rates over 90 percent in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K., compared to about 69 percent in the U.S. No surprise these countries have healthcare systems that lead the U.S. based on analysis of patient outcomes and cost performance.

New EHR-related applications, analytics, enhanced system ventures represent high growth, and EHR adoption is now accelerating in the US driven by both Meaningful Use and the need to improve cost/performance- these forces will be key healthcare market growth drivers.

Summarizing, there will no doubt be a need for ‘gadgets’ but suggest we keep our focus on the real issues and opportunities such as the above, which represent high sustainable growth creating value for smart investors

Paul B. Silverman


Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.


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